Start with the Problem: Establishing Research Relevance with Integrative Public Administration

Julia L. Carboni, Todd Dickey, Stephanie Moulton, Sean O'Keefe, Rosemary O'Leary, Suzanne J. Piotrowski, Jodi Sandfort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A key question of each Minnowbrook has been how public administration scholarship can be relevant to practice (Carboni and Nabatchi 2019; Nabatchi and Carboni 2019; O'Leary, Van Slyke, and Kim 2010). This question remains salient today, as public administration scholarship is increasingly distant from the challenges identified by practitioners. Academic research agendas are often disconnected from the social issues and challenges of public governance. Field norms incentivize and exacerbate this cleavage. As a result, past calls for more practice-oriented scholarship lack widespread implementation. In this essay, we propose modest shifts in how academic research is conducted to link it with problems, issues, and opportunities identified by the public service practitioners and professional communities. We refer to this shift as Integrative Public Administration. We also identify and make suggestions about how to change some field level conditions that hamper the shift to Integrative Public Administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-274
Number of pages8
JournalPerspectives on Public Management and Governance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Administration


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